'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Review: The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher

England, 1828. Thomas Timewell is sixteen and digging up his grandfather’s body (as you do) when he meets a resurrectionist by the name of Plenitude.

Thomas’ life takes a turn as he tries to turn his back on this new career and way of life, but fails when Plenitude keeps appearing and calling on his services. He is now involved in a shady underground world and being followed by strange characters as he becomes a body-snatcher for the sake of science – all whilst trying to maintain his gentlemanly reputation.


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was sent this book for review, given the topic, the title and the promise of ‘very black comedy’. But I was pleasantly surprised.

The predominant sarcastic tone of the book is entertaining, and even laugh-out-loud funny at many points. The characters are all brilliant in their often cold-hearted ways and they become comfortably (and sometimes uncomfortably, especially in the case of the mother’s friend with a keen crush on Thomas) familiar, as MacLeod skilfully weaves their lives and their lies.

And is there anything better than a surprise ending? This story has one that made me want to re-read the book, from my new perspective and knowledge of the characters.

This is a witty, enthralling read for anyone who enjoys a good plot to dig into (and rest assured, MacLeod’s humour is much better than my little puns!) and characters that are different and interesting.

Title: The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher
Author: Doug MacLeod
Publisher: Penguin, $17.95 RRP
Publication Date: 28 June 2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143203919
For ages: Young adult
Type: Novel

This book is available online

Read our interview with author Doug MacLeod

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